Healthcare Digital Front Door

Lucidity Lancaster
December 8, 2022

Industries are rapidly digitizing. Consumers can order their groceries to their house, get movie tickets on their phones, and find the right lipstick shade with virtual try-on. People crave efficiency and ease, but unlike other industries, the healthcare industry is falling behind. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients are looking to have more control over their healthcare now more than ever. To achieve this, healthcare is going digital and shifting to meet consumer needs. The key to this progress is the digital front door - technology that allows patients to interact with providers and manage their own care at every step of the healthcare journey. 

Why is a healthcare digital front door important?

The digital front door vastly improves the patient experience and maximizes efficiency. If you’ve ever waited hours in a physician’s office waiting room or struggled to get them to pick up the phone, you’ve seen how the current system leaves much to be desired. With healthcare becoming more and more costly, the patient has a greater expectation for quality care.

The digital front door vastly improves the patient experience and maximizes efficiency. The digital front door includes a variety of functions like provider search, appointment scheduling, and digital billing. Having all of these features in one place makes the process more streamlined. Patients can save hours of time improving their satisfaction and their care. If a patient can’t get a hold of an office to schedule an appointment, they may stop trying to schedule one. Not only does this cause organizations to lose patients, but it risks the health of those patients as well. Investing in a digital front door will improve the patient experience and lead them to continue to choose that healthcare organization as their provider.

We have already mentioned appointment scheduling and some others, but what are some of the components of a digital front door?

Patient Portal

The patient portal is an application that patients log in to in order to communicate with their physicians and healthcare team. The patient portal often allows them to schedule appointments, see their test results, send messages to their providers, and request refills. The ability to message providers simple questions keeps the phone lines at the front desk open and saves time at all stages of the process. Patient portals are becoming more and more popular for healthcare systems. The ones that perform the best are user-friendly rather than crowded and visually complex.

Provider Search

A provider search does what the name implies. It allows the patient to search the healthcare network directory for a new provider or for the information for one of their current providers. This feature makes it easy to refer patients to other physicians or specialists within the network. It allows for an organized, convenient process for the patient and a greater rate of patient-network retention.

Appointment Scheduling

Online appointment scheduling allows the patient to select and reserve their appointment time digitally. Many networks utilize a patient portal for this process. Rather than calling again and again to make an appointment that fits their schedule through a receptionist, the patient can see what is available themselves. It saves time for both parties and increases the likelihood of a patient scheduling and showing up for their appointment. 

Chatbots

Chatbots are popular for many types of websites and services. They are available for companies in commerce like Amazon or tech companies like HP. Chatbots are also moving into the healthcare sphere. Some chatbots act as symptom checkers. They analyze a patient's symptoms and direct them to the next best step for their care. If that is scheduling an appointment with one of the providers, chatbots can direct them to virtual appointment scheduling or even recommend a telehealth visit in the event the patient may be contagious.

Telehealth Visits

Telehealth visits allow patients to meet with a care provider virtually. This is beneficial for patients who may be contagious, have social anxiety, or need immediate care which they can’t get a timely physical appointment for. Telehealth visits improve the quality of care for patients and allow the network to see more patients who are in need of these accommodations. These visits also accommodate patients with busy lifestyles. People can have doctors’ appointments during their lunch break and never have to leave the office. With more people working remotely and more services being contactless, it only makes sense that telehealth will be the future of healthcare. 

Digital Billing

In 2022, we pay most of our bills online. Doesn’t it seem a bit antiquated that we are still paying our medical bills by mail? Of course that option is very beneficial to those who lack internet access, but having a quality digital option as well is more convenient for both the patient and billing departments. Increasing convenience means a higher likelihood that the bill will be paid. 

Save Time in the Waiting Room

Yet another time saver, virtual waiting rooms allow patients to check in from their vehicles and receive a message when the office is ready to begin their appointment. This allows for a more seamless experience. Patients feel more comfortable waiting in a familiar area like their vehicle and are less likely to become agitated by wait times. The virtual waiting room also helps prevent exposure to viruses or other contagious ailments. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how easy it is for certain diseases to spread. If there’s too substantial an outbreak, a given medical system could be overloaded with patients in dire need of care. If an office serves a large amount of elderly or immunocompromised patients, the virtual waiting room could be life-saving.

The ability to complete patient intake forms or other documents online will also save time in the waiting room. Most people have had the experience of being told to arrive early for an appointment just to fill out paperwork. That being said, people have busy lives. The extra 15-20 minutes means a lot to the patient. If they could complete their paperwork online on their own time, it would allow the staff to process the paperwork faster and place it directly into the system. Patients can then devote that time to other endeavors, making the appointment process faster and more efficient overall.

Online Prescription Refill Requests

Through the aforementioned patient portal or other virtual means, the patient can submit a refill request to their physician. Some prescriptions are a matter of life and death and not being able to get in contact with your provider before a long weekend could result in a hospital visit. With confusing office hours and national holidays, online refilling with the digital front door makes it easier to get a much needed prescription. It also saves time at the office by allowing staff to focus on patients in the office and other messages. 

Key Takeaways

Society is barreling into a more digital age. Consumers are expecting more. These digital features will upgrade the patient experience and improve quality of care. Not only that, the digital front door makes life easier for healthcare providers and saves time for medical staff. 

Having all the data readily available through the digital front door makes it easier to keep track of messages from patients and stay organized.  Sooner rather than later, these features will be the norm for all healthcare organizations. If a healthcare organization aims to be successful, it will need to undergo significant digital transformation. 

Need Help Building Your Digital Front Door? Camber Can Help.

The digital front door is a great place to begin and an excellent growth opportunity. Undergoing a digital transformation can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are digital product agencies ready and willing to help. With an investment as important as this, trust the experts. Camber has a fully dedicated team of engineers, project managers, marketers, and more to help make your digital transformation a success. 

At Camber Creative, we can help you decide what features are best for your organization and whether you should build or buy those features. Building is having your software solutions built from scratch and buying means purchasing solutions that are already available from vendors. Camber is a full-service digital product agency. We not only build you a custom product, but we can also maintain it over time. Most front doors take a while to set up. We can support roadmap development or fully create the roadmap for the entire transformation in addition to managing the project. We apply our value-driven approach to every product. If you are ready to take on the future of your business, you know who to call

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